Peak bagging (also hill bagging, mountain bagging, Munro bagging, or just bagging) is an activity in which hillwalkers and mountaineers attempt to reach the summit of some collection of peaks, usually those above some height in a particular region, or having a particular feature.
Peak bagging can be distinguished from highpointing. In peak bagging, the targets are the peaks of mountains or hills, and the popular lists usually require that the target pass some threshold of prominence. In highpointing, the goal is only to reach the highest point in some geographic area (e.g., county, state, or country), whether or not it is a peak.
For some peak baggers, simply being present at the highest point is sufficient to check the summit off the list. This allows for driving to car-accessible summits and declaring the summit "climbed". Drive-ups are allowed by the U.S. State Highpointers club and by the County Highpointers club, whose members are collectively attempting to reach the highest point in all 3,142 U.S. counties.
Various organizations have adopted rules for what to do when a peak is on private land or otherwise inaccessible, whether off-road vehicles may be used, etc.
Some peak baggers increase the challenge by completing a list of summits within a time limit, or climbed at certain times of the year, such as in winter.
Usually, a peak that is climbed frequently has the summit marked by a cairn. In some parts of the world, a summit register may be located in a watertight container such as a jar or can, stashed in a protected spot. Peak baggers write a note or log entry and leave it in the "peak log" as a record of their accomplishment.
Arguments for and against
Traditional climbers or adventurers may argue that peak bagging devalues the experience of climbing in favour of the achievement of reaching an arbitrary point on a map; that bagging reduces climbing to the status of stamp collecting or train spotting; or that is seen as obsessive and beside the point. For example, in explaining why he chose to remove some minor peaks from his guidebook, Steve Roper wrote:
Most of the peaks had as their first ascenders those who in a former day would have been called explorers but now could only be thought of as peakbaggers, interested primarily in trudging endlessly over heaps of stones, building cairns, and inserting their business cards into specifically designed canisters especially carried for this purpose. But perhaps I am being too harsh. They’re having their fun.
Some baggers say peak bagging is a motivation to keep reaching new summits. For mountain range peak lists, attaining the goal provides the peak bagger with a deeper appreciation for the topography of the range. For example, each peak is typically enjoyed from multiple aspects as the peak bagger also climbs the major neighboring summits.
There is also concern that encouraging the climbing of certain mountains has caused trail damage from erosion through heavy use and, where mountains have no trails, created trails. Proponents note that many peak baggers become active in maintaining trails and more aware about mitigating damage than casual hikers.
Peak bagging lists
- Summits on the Air for an international, amateur radio programme to broadcast from peaks
- In Scotland the activity is known as "Munro bagging" - for example Muriel Gray (May 1993). The First Fifty: Munro-bagging Without a Beard. ISBN 0-552-13937-8.
- Andrew Becker. "I Was Here - A High Sierra search for the voices of climbers past - Sierra Club, Sierra Magazine, July/August 2008". Retrieved 2008-10-30.
- Steve Roper, The Climber’s Guide to the High Sierra, copyright ©1976 by Sierra Club Books
- peakbook.org International peakbagging community with worldwide peak lists
- peakery.com International peakbagging community with worldwide peak lists
- peakhunter.org Global summit log project with crowd sourced peak data
- Infographic Visualizing the United States' Peaks
- 14ers.com - Home of Colorado's Fourteeners and High Peaks
- The Home of Colorado's Thirteeners (Mountains Between 13,000 and 14,000 Feet)
- Adirondack 46er Club
- Catskill Mountain High Peaks of New York Catskill 3500 Club
- The Tallest Mountains in the Eastern U.S.
- South Beyond 6K Hiking Program
- West Milford, New Jersey: Baker's Dozen and Winter 17er Challenges
- VRMC California Thirteeners
- AMC 4000-footers in New Hampshire
- Lakes24 24 Marilyns in 24 hours in the English Lake District
- Database of British and Irish Hills
- All the major UK and Irish hill lists
- Peak Bagging New Zealand
- A Peak Baggers Guide to Tasmania.
- Portugal mountains (in Portuguese)
- A list of peaks in Indonesia.
- A list of peaks in Malaysia (in Malay)
- A list of peaks in Malaysia (in English)
- Mountainviews.ie Guide to Irish Hills